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India - Prime Minister inaugurates world's largest grain storage plan in cooperative sectorqrcode

Feb. 27, 2024

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Feb. 27, 2024

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday inaugurated the pilot project of the world's largest grain storage plan in the cooperative sector in 11 Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS) of 11 states.

Launching multiple key initiatives for the Cooperative sector here, PM Modi said the world's largest storage plan of 700 lakh metric tons would be completed in the next five years at a cost of Rs 1.25 lakh crore.

The Prime Minister also laid the foundation stone for additional 500 PACS across the country for construction of godowns and other agriculture infrastructure under the grain storage initiative. The initiative aims to seamlessly integrate PACS' godowns with the food grain supply chain, fortifying food security and fostering economic development in the country with a collaborative effort supported by NABARD and spearheaded by the National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC).

This initiative is being implemented through the convergence of various existing schemes like the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF) and Agriculture Marketing Infrastructure (AMI) to enable PACS participating in the project to avail subsidies and interest subvention benefits for undertaking infrastructure development.

The Prime Minister also inaugurated a project for computerization in 18,000 PACS across the country, aligning with the government's vision of "Sahakar se Samridhi" aimed at rejuvenating the cooperative sector and empowering small and marginal farmers.

Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister noted that Bharat Mandapam is witnessing another milestone in the journey of Viksit Bharat i.e. a step forward in the direction of 'Sahkaar se Samriddhi'.

The power of cooperation has a huge role in strengthening the foundation of agriculture and farming and this has led to a separate Ministry for Cooperation.

He said that the 'world's largest grain storage plan in cooperative sector' launched today will result in thousands of warehouses and godowns in every corner of the country and added that the initiatives including computerization of PACs will give new dimensions to agriculture and modernize farming in the country.

The Prime Minister underlined that cooperatives are an ancient concept in India.

Quoting a scripture, the Prime Minister explained that a large task can be accomplished if smaller resources are put together and said that this model was followed in the ancient system of villages in India.

"Cooperatives were the foundations of India's atmanirbhar society. It is not just any system, but a belief, a spirit," PM Modi remarked, highlighting that this spirit of cooperatives is beyond the boundaries of systems and resources and produces exceptional results.

He said that it has the potential to convert an ordinary system related to daily life into a huge industrious system, and a proven result of the changing face of the rural and agricultural economy. Through this new Ministry, the Prime Minister emphasized, the government aims to bring together the fragmented powers of the agricultural sector of India.

Giving the example of Farmers Producers Organisation (FPOs), the Prime Minister noted the growing entrepreneurship among the small farmers in villages. He said due to having a separate Ministry, 8000 FPOs out of a target of 10,000 FPOs are already functional in the country. The benefits of cooperatives are now reaching fishermen also. More than 25,000 cooperative units are functional in the fishery sector. The Prime Minister reiterated the government's goal of establishing 2,00,000 cooperative societies in the coming years.

Recalling his experience as Chief Minister of Gujarat, the Prime Minister cited the success stories of Amul and Lijjat Papad as the power of cooperatives and also highlighted the central role of women in these enterprises. The government has given priority to women in the policies related to the cooperative sector. He mentioned ensuring board representation for women by amending the multi-state Cooperative Societies Act.

The Prime Minister underlined that cooperatives have the potential to tackle the personal issues of farmers with collective strength and gave the example of storage. Pointing out the losses incurred by farmers due to lack of storage infrastructure, the Prime Minister drew attention to the world's largest storage plan of 700 lakh metric tons.

He said that it would enable farmers to store their produce and sell it at the right time according to their own needs while also helping to avail loans from banks.

"Modernization of agricultural systems is equally important for the creation of a Viksit Bharat", the Prime Minister said, highlighting the government's endeavour to create a new role for government organizations such as PACS.

He stated that these committees are functioning as Jan Aushadhi Kendras while thousands of PM Kisan Samruddhi Kendras are also being operated.

He also mentioned cooperative committees operating in the areas of petrol, diesel, and LPG cylinders while PACS also plays the role of water committees in several villages. This, the Prime Minister said, has increased the productivity of loan committees and also created new sources of income. "Cooperative committees are now acting as common service centers in villages and providing hundreds of facilities", he said, noting the emergence of technology and digital India to take the services to farmers on a larger scale. He further added that it will create new employment opportunities for the youth in the villages.

The Prime Minister outlined the importance of cooperative institutions in the journey of Viksit Bharat.

He asked them to contribute towards the goals of Aatmnirbhar Bharat. "Viksit Bharat is not possible without an Aatmanirbhar Bharat '', the Prime Minister stressed. He suggested that the cooperative should list the items for which we are dependent on import and explore how the cooperative sector can help with producing them locally. He gave an example of edible oil as a product that may be taken up. Similarly, cooperative push for ethanol can reduce dependence on oil imports for energy needs. Pulse import is another area that the Prime Minister suggested for cooperative societies for the reduction of foreign dependence. Many manufacturing goods can also be taken up by the cooperatives, he said.

The Prime Minister also underlined the role of the cooperatives in natural farming and turning farmers into Urjadata (provider of energy) and Urvarakdata (provider of fertilizer). He said rooftop solar and solar panels on the borders of the farms can be seen as areas for cooperative initiative. Similar intervention is feasible in Gobardhan, production of bio CNG, manure and waste to wealth. This will reduce fertilizer import bills also, he said. He asked the cooperative to come forward in global branding of the efforts of the small farmers. He also asked them to make Shri Anna-Millets available on dining tables globally.

Focussing on the role of the cooperative in increasing rural income, the Prime Minister noted the impact of the dairy cooperative in his constituency Kashi. He also noted the strides made by cooperatives in the honey sector as honey production increased from 75,000 metric tonnes to 1.5 lakh metric tonnes and honey export increased from 28,000 metric tonnes to 80,000 metric tonnes in the last 10 years. Acknowledging the role of NAFED, TRIFED and state cooperatives, the Prime Minister asked to expand the ambit of these bodies.

Union Home Minister and Minister of Cooperation Amit Shah, Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Arjun Munda, Union Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Minister Piyush Goyal, and Minister of State for Cooperation Shri BL Verma were among those present.

In his remarks, Amit Shah said that PM Modi has taken several steps to infuse new life into the cooperative sector. He said that Prime Minister Modi accepted the decades-long demand of people of the cooperative sector to form a separate Ministry of Cooperation.

He said there is a need to keep the cooperative sector relevant, modernize it and also make it transparent and added that over 54 initiatives have been taken by the Ministry of Cooperation since its formation.

He said that the cooperative sector is moving forward from PACS to APACS, with new enthusiasm by making new beginnings in every dimension.

Amit Shah said that the cooperative sector has been given a new life after almost 125 years, due to the decision of Prime Minister Modi and it will continue to serve the country for the next 125 years.

He said the complete computerization of more than 18,000 PACSs is starting from today, its trial run has been conducted, legacy data has been computerized and with the inauguration, every transaction will be computerized from now on.

Union Home Minister and Minister of Cooperation said that when the proposal for computerization of 18,000 PACSs was submitted before the Union Cabinet on June 29, 2022, Prime Minister had expressed the hope that despite being difficult, this project would be implemented soon.

Amit Shah said that in a very short time, computerization of 18,000 out of 65,000 PACSs has been completed and very soon 30,000 more PACSs will be computerised and dedicated to the people. He said that computerization of PACSs will not only bring transparency and modernize them but also create business opportunities.

The Union Minister said the Ministry of Cooperation has prepared new bye-laws for PACSs and state governments, rising above party lines, have accepted and implemented them. He said that once the bye-laws are implemented, a PACS will be able to do 20 different activities.

PACSs will be able to do the work of dairy, water management under Jal Jeevan Mission, join the blue revolution and will also be able to contribute in increasing the storage capacity.

They will also be able to work as Common Service Centre (CSC), will be able to open cheap medicine and grain shops and will also be able to open and operate petrol pumps.

Amit Shah said that through the new bye-laws, the process of linking PACSs with many other activities started and now with their computerization, the accounts of all activities will be integrated into single software.

He said that this software is available in every language of the country and farmers can interact with it in their own language. He exuded confidence that by August, 2024, all PACSs of the country will be computerized and connected with the software.

Union Home Minister and Minister of Cooperation said that as per the vision of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, pilot project in 11 PACSs has been completed and 11 godowns are being inaugurated.

Amit Shah said that in India, storage capacity with regards to food grain production is only 47 per cent whereas in USA it is 161 per cent, Brazil 149 per cent, Canada 130 per cent and China 107 per cent.

He said that all over the world, the storage capacity is more than the production, and due to this, when the prices go down, the farmer can use the storage capacity to store his produce and easily get good price for the same. He said that earlier this facility was not available in India and Food Corporation of India had to shoulder this whole burden.

Amit Shah said now thousands of PACSs will increase storage capacity through which "we will achieve 100 per cent storage capacity before 2027 and this will be done through the cooperative sector".

He said that the godowns built under this scheme will be small, but will have racks, computerized system and all the means required for modern farming. These PACS-linked godowns will also have drones, tractors, harvesting machines and fertilizer spraying machines. He said that all these facilities will be available to farmers on rental basis and it will strengthen the bond between PACSs and farmers, make PACSs more viable and our farming modern in the coming days.

The project has been approved with a financial outlay of more than Rs 2,500 crore. This initiative involves transitioning all functional PACS onto a unified Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) based national software, ensuring seamless integration and connectivity.

By linking these PACS with NABARD through State Cooperative Banks and District Central Cooperative Banks, the project aims to enhance the operation efficiency & governance of PACS, thus benefiting crores of small & marginal farmers.

NABARD has developed the National Level Common Software for this project, tailored to meet the diverse needs of PACS across the country.

The onboarding of 18,000 PACS on ERP software has been completed, marking a significant milestone in the project's implementation.


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